Civil Rights & Legal Advocacy Priorities

• Support passage of The Community Choice Act (S. 799; H.R. 1621) to require a state’s Medicaid plan to cover community-based attendant services and supports for Medicaid-eligible persons with disabilities. The goal is to give persons with disabilities the right (i.e., the choice) to receive certain services and supports in a community setting (e.g., the home) rather than an institution, if they so desire.

• Support passage of The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act) (S. 1758; H.R. 3001) to create a new long-term care insurance program to assist persons with disabilities remain independent. Unlike Medicaid, individuals with disabilities would not have to deplete their resources (i.e., become impoverished) to qualify for coverage. The bill will ease financial pressures on Medicaid.

• Support passage of The Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Restoration Act (S. 1881; H.R. 3195) which would amend the ADA in accord with Congress’ original intent to cover persons with disabilities who use mitigating measures (e.g., medication to treat diabetes or a prosthetic limb). The bill is needed because court decisions have too narrowly construed the Act’s definition of disability.

• Support passage of Senate Bill 1920, Amendment 001 (introduced by Sen. John Cullerton) which would provide free mass transit rides on fixed routes for low-income people with disabilities as determined through Circuit Breaker eligibility.

• Calling for introduction of legislation that would revamp the composition of the PACE Board of Directors to include a representative from Chicago and a person with a disability. PACE operates paratransit service in Chicago, but there are currently no representatives from Chicago and no representatives with a disability on the PACE Board.

• Support passage of recently introduced city ordinance that would provide funding for capital improvements at Chicago Public Schools to remedy physical barriers (e.g., steps) that prevent access by children with physical disabilities.

• Collaborating with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and the Department of Buildings to design a training program for building inspectors on accessibility issues to ensure new residential housing is designed and constructed to comply with the accessibility requirements of the Chicago Building Code.

Access Living Legal Staff successfully negotiated a consent decree in Jackson v. Maram, which will result in up to 14,000 nursing home residents in Illinois being evaluated for motorized wheelchairs, thereby ensuring increased independence for people with disabilities.